Idea Generation using “Random Words” is a technique that taps into your knowledge residing in sub-conscious mind and produces diverse concepts. Many websites have tools providing random words, to simulate our brains.

Imagine one of our friends, Raja is a manufacturer of “Domestic Water Heaters” under a fictional brand name “MELLOW”. His sales were declining due to the following reasons

  • Globalization, Accelerated technology advancements, Improved industrial productivity, Relaxed checks in import have made competitors to supply products which are similar to “Mellow”. “Mellow” is like every other product in the market, except in the visual appeal.
  • When the brands become similar, people select a product on price alone.
  • Due to this “Me-Too Product” phenomena, & Supply of products exceeding the demand, price wars on the rise and profit margins have started shrinking.
  • Differentiating his product from others is becoming an enormous challenge.
  • Incremental Innovations are providing only a minuscule growth, as the competitors are implementing those features within a small amount of time.
  • Raja feels that his incremental innovations, investment in marketing and sales force are keeping him to run the business for survival and not for growth.
  • He gave TV ads, which were expensive, but the returns were poorer.

Raja understands that he needs to rework the whole thought process of the market, develop interesting User Value Propositions and Redraw the marketplace. Let’s help him using “Random Words Simulation” technique to generate “User Value Propositions”.

Note: Focussed research is needed to validate any ideas. Since we do not have any research data, we are going to just generate ideas and not validate anything.

I’m using some of the websites to generate the random word. The order/sequence of the words mentioned below is not the order I received.

OUTSET

One of the words I received is “Outset”, which means “Beginning of Something” or “Start”. Where do we have “Start”? Menu? Computer? App?

Can we have an App for water heater? What will it do?

ALARM

Next word I received is “ALARM”.

During weekdays, office goers take bath almost at a similar time, every day. Can I set my bath timings for every day like how I set an Alarm clock? Can the heater send me a notification in mobile phone ten minutes before the bathing time and switch on the heater automatically, if I don’t respond?

CALENDAR

Next word I received is “Calendar”. Calendar – months, weeks, days, season? 4 seasons? Multiple seasons-Can we have seasons in our app? Auto correction of Bathing temperature in Winter season, Summer season, Rainy season based on ambient temperatures? Can it be set in APP?

TRIPLE

The word I received is “Triple”. Number 3 – can we have 3 modes in APP?

ERROR

The word I received is “Error”. Can the app or screen in water heater show any issues with the water heater? Can it show the power variations over a period of use and warn us? Can it warn us about low voltage? Can it show the dropping efficiency of heating element? Can it warn me about the drop in temperature or remaining volume of hot water? About purity of water? Healthy hazards of water used? Formation of scales? Can you provide confidence about our health, our skin by certifying the water used? Can you warn us when we use excessive water? Can you guide a user to save water?

CONFLICT

The word I received is “Conflict”. What kind of conflicts can occur? How can the app solve the conflict?

Imagine a scenario

  1. George is reading a newspaper in the morning, his mobile notifies him that in another ten minutes he has to take bath and if he doesn’t respond, the water heater will be switched on.
  2. After about 8 minutes, he gets a notification that his father has entered the bathroom and is taking bath in hot water. He gets notified once his father is out of the bathroom.
  3. The app further informs him that water heater needs another 7 minutes to heat the water to the required temperature, and asking George to enter bathroom after 7 minutes. Once water is ready, the app sends a notification to George.

CHANGE

The word I received is “Change”. Change – Adjustment. What can be adjusted? Flow rate? Can I fix the flow rate in APP for washing my face, rinsing body etc.?

Can we look at the other way? I do not want to change? I do not want to mix cold or hot water. Whatever temperature I set, I should get water at that temperature, without me trying to mix cold water.

STAR

The word I received is “Star”.

  • Actor – Bring down the house? Can the heater sing songs? Some users may need to hear news or some daily tips. Can it play based on user’s interests, collected through App?
  • Can the heater Emote? Show emotions? Emotions can be shown through voice or lighting or graphics in a Digital display screen in the heater.
  • Star – Red Carpet – Can the heater provide a welcome message?

Star – Best Actor – Award – Reward. The reward is the reason, why people will repeat your behavior. A pleasant experience is a reward. Can you reward users who saved more water using your product, who spreads the message and show the world how they are responsible? Rewards can be of Non-monetary benefits. Can you publish in social media? Can you provide them with a Badge, which they can feel like wearing? – Basically, Design for Observability. When you provide visibility to them, they are going to carry your message(Example – Badge). When people ask about the badge, your product will get promoted.

SWEAT

Who sweats? People working in machinery workshop, people working in the hot sun, courier men etc…

Now let’s imagine a situation

Can the water heater have a sliding tray similar to the tray in the washing machine?

The tray can hold oil or herbal powder or any other extracts. Water can pass the tray in required flow rate when needed, which can be set in the app. The ratio of mixing extracts to water can be set in the App.

YOUTH

  • Can we target the product for youth aged 18-24?
  • Young people want things that work with technology they own
  • They listen to music more than anybody. Can the heater app have SPOTIFY app icon, so it is easy to play while bathing?
  • Sparkle and shine using Glitter Gel – Can our heater makes it easier to provide sparkle and shining to hair and their hands
  • Is there any mode in water heater specifically for bathing after the swim?
  • Can we sponsor inter-school, inter-college student football games?
  • Can we promote the product in coffee shops, bars, record stores in a subtle way?
  • Can we provide a discount for students like how Apple provide discounts in MacBook?
  • Can you have competition and provide prizes? Maybe something they can experiment with your product and come with an innovative option or competition on saving water?

PUSH

Push – Push the knob in Washbasin Sinks? Kitchen sinks?

Washing hands before and after food – Need warm water mixed with lemon? Warm water mixed with sanitizer concentrate? Can a small water heater designed to store cleaning agent provide water for cleaning hands? Rinsing vessels?

When I plan to wash hands

  • press the sanitizer by one finger, collect the sanitizer liquid, move the other hand to the knob in the sink, turn the knob to release water, spread the sanitizer liquid over both the hands, take both hands to the tap, rinse both of them. Can you reduce the number of activities? If water comes directly with sanitized liquid and warmer, how it would be?

We generally rinse plates, spoons before using them, even though they were washed and kept. Can this product be used in Kitchens?Can this product be used in restrooms, in Theatres, Malls, Airports or any other public places? Offices?

AWARENESS

How will you create awareness? By Teaching? What can you teach? Can you teach them the health benefits of using warm water? Can you help them to experiment with hot water and various other component mixtures? Like Chef programs – Can you conduct programs with different recipes, mixtures for health, skin glow etc… Can you run programs on “Best Practices” Conduct workshops?

COMPOUND

Group of elements being together – Group of people staying together in a community. Many people do not buy water heaters for two main reasons – Affordability, Awareness of health benefits.

Can you provide a bigger size common water heater for a community who stay as a group, but cannot afford and charge them based on the consumption? Maintenance being taken care of the company. If the rates are kept as low as possible, people might try and use the product, get used to bathing in warm water. Maybe, keep few liters free, keep giving discounts often.

DUAL

Can I have two Heating elements or Two heating zones inside a water heater? Except for bathing, many occasions We need a smaller quantity of warm water. Imagine I have got a 10litre water heater. I’ve got cold and need steamed water. Why should I heat the whole 10 liters water? For bathing, we need a higher volume of water. Buying two separate sized water heaters are not a feasible solution for many. Can the water heater function as 10 liters as well as 3 liters capacities.

When I need a limited volume of hot water, water in the smaller area alone can be heated. When I need higher volume, the gross amount of water can be heated. Can each area have an independent heating element? While bathing, a user may like to switch between the water of two different temperatures.

Random Word simulation is a “Lateral Thinking” creativity tool which will force your mind to think out of the natural process. If you have any ideas, suggestions, need help or guidance, write to us.

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